Assistant Dean of Students
Problem Solving Tips for Parents
Most students encounter challenges at college. Visit our Problem Solving Tips for Parents page to see some common issues and how to help your student handle them.
At Wheelock, your student will be challenged to think critically about the world around him or her, to respond to those challenges thoughtfully and with passion, and to become someone who leads with confidence and dignity. We expect students to take charge of their own learning and being as we provide safety nets for them—and resources for you—as they tackle these new challenges.
Wheelock views parents and families as influential partners in the development of their students' success. In order to strengthen our partnership with you, continual efforts are made to assess your needs, cultivate communication, provide education, and promote collaborative opportunities. We strive to develop and deliver clear, purposeful information that informs, engages, and reassures parents and families.
We realize that college is a challenging time for students and families alike. Students work hard to grow and develop academically, personally, and professionally, while families often wrestle with figuring out how to be supportive in the best ways possible. As partners in educating your student, we share a common goal: the success of your son or daughter at Wheelock College.
Understanding the College Environment
The following information may be helpful in thinking about ways in which college is different than high school, and specifically how Wheelock is a unique institution among colleges. We believe that an important part of our students' college experience is learning to take primary responsibility for their own education. For a family member to contact an instructor or senior college administrator—outside of true emergency situations—communicates a negative message: that this particular student is incapable of handling a problematic situation independently and with maturity. Wheelock offers many departments, individuals, and committees whose purposes are to advise your student and expects students to access those resources when they have questions or encounter difficulty.
Faculty: Faculty members are at the heart of a Wheelock education. While faculty members are led by department chairs and deans, professors have the freedom to design their own syllabus, class lectures, assignments, and grades. Students should work directly with their instructors to resolve any issues or conflicts that might arise.
Advisors: All entering undergraduates work with a professional academic advisor who employs a holistic and comprehensive approach to assist students in maximizing their educational experience. The advisor helps students create meaningful educational plans that include possible applications of academic coursework to majors, careers, and other student interests. The advisor also provides support on college transition issues, community engagement, as well as helps students access and utilize academic and non-academic resources. At the end of the first semester (for Transfers) or sophomore year (for First Years) students are assigned to a faculty advisor in their area of study. The faculty member serves as an advisor and mentor as students complete their academic program.
Academic Expectations: Faculty members expect students to function much more independently than may have been required in high school. As part of taking responsibility for their own learning, students are expected to participate actively in class and seek help when they need it. At Wheelock, all instructors must submit a mid-term grade for each student (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory), indicating whether the student is meeting the course requirements at the semester's half-way point. This can provide a good opportunity for students to begin a discussion with their instructor regarding areas that need improvement.
Privacy: The federal Family and Educational Rights Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) governs who is permitted to access information from your student's college record. No college official may release any confidential information (aside from basic "directory" data) unless a student expressly authorizes another individual to receive it. Examples of restricted information include grades, probationary status, student conduct violations, and records on whether or not a student has utilized programs or services such as the counseling center. Learn more about FERPA.
Outside the classroom, students are also asked to operate with much more independence and maturity than they might have needed to in high school.
Student Development: Wheelock crafts programs and services outside the classroom that strive to help students develop along their own unique path. The College also articulates an intended shared transformation in our Wheelock Compact, which states: "You will become a more confident, knowledgeable, capable advocate for change, prepared to serve, lead and succeed in a variety of careers. You will value learning, growth and opportunity as keys to a sustainable society. You will inspire a world of good."
Student Involvement: A vital part of your student's education at Wheelock includes their pursuits outside the classroom. Many opportunities exist at Wheelock for your student to get involved, build social connections, and expand his or her leadership skills through student-led organizations, athletics teams, residence hall "house councils," class councils, and service-learning projects.
Behavioral Expectations: A student handbook outlines rules and regulations that all students must comply with as members of the Wheelock community. For students who live in a campus residence hall, additional rules may apply. It's important that students become familiar with policies governing their expected behavior; a lack of awareness is no excuse for violating campus regulations.
Get Involved and Stay Connected!
There are many ways parents and families can get involved and stay connected with their student and the Wheelock community.
Sign up for Lucy's Ledger: This electronic newsletter provides highlights of student programs, updates of important events and initiatives, links to relevant articles, and ways to become involved in life at Wheelock College.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org: Ask questions or find out more about involvement opportunities and important upcoming events.
Come to a Wheelock Family Theatre performance: The Theatre invites everyone to explore all of the excellent performances, workshops, and special deals for families, students, and children.